Mike Shenk’s Wall Street Journal contest crossword, “Head Count”—Laura’s review
This week, we’re looking for a five-letter word.
We’ve got five longer theme entries. I suspect each one will give us a letter in that word.
- [17a: Rules of behavior]: DOS AND DON’TS
- [25a: Be exclusive, in a way]: GO STEADY
- [40a: Possibly embarrassing recording]: SEX TAPE
- [51a: Changeling]: ELF CHILD
- [64a: Aphorism from Horace’s “Odes”]: SEIZE THE DAY
Hmmm, could the title suggest that the “head” of each themer is something we should “count”? Why, yes! I immediately noticed that DOS is Spanish for two, and that SEIZE is French for sixteen. The other “heads” didn’t register, so I did a little research/googling and found this site that has the numbers 1-20 in a whole buncha languages. Turns out:
DOS = 2 in Spanish
GO = 5 in Japanese
SEX = 6 in Swedish
ELF = 11 in Dutch
SEIZE = 16 in French
Metasolving 101: When you have a bunch of rando-seeming numbers, see if they index anything in the grid. Turns out, yes:
2 = T
5 = A
6 = L
11 = L
16 = Y
The squares indexed by the letters spell TALLY, which is an appropriate five-letter word and our answer. Any other week, I’d have some attempt at humor and maybe a video and random thoughts about whatever, but I’m battling a headache and the usual anxiety of the times, so this will have to do. See you next week.